Welcome to Maui — May 28

Kahului, Maui

Kahului Bay

Tonight I sit in Kahalui, Maui,a cup of kava-kava, drinking it the traditional way, straight from the coconut. That’s how they serve it up in here.

Four months ago, a friend gave me some standby tickets for Alaska Air, and so, I had the idea that a quick visit to Hawaii would be fun. Since I had already been to Kauai and Oahu, I picked Maui for some variety. Because it is still part of the states, it would be a straightforward enough adventure and not involve any of the complexities of foreign travel.

I did some research in the Lonely Planet (LP) guide and in Maui Revealed, which is a useful guide written by an Islander. I also spoke to a few friends who have spent a lot of time here and got some good tips that I will share with you later. As often is the case, I was frantic getting ready to leave on a trip. I was trying to get done everything that I thought would need to be done while I was gone and leave the home spotless. Of course, my computer breaking down the day before was not in the least bit helpful and I knew my sleeping pad leaked, as I discovered in Belize a few months ago. And of course, I saved it until the last day to get a new one. My friend Dan happened to stop by and he was nice enough to pick me up a keyboard for the iPad. Since I am not sure I will ever fully embrace touch screens, this made the iPad a good alternative to hauling my laptop around. Dan and I had spoken of my starting a travel blog on this trip and I really didn’t want to do it with pen and paper. The idea of a travel blog came into being because my emails to Dan from Belize were so engaging about my daily activities that he stated he felt like he was along on the trip with me. And when I mentioned I wrote to a few people, but wrote separate emails detailing different things, he suggested that I should write a blog, so I could share my adventures with the world. OK, I agreed to do it and actually have been excited about having my little corner in cyberspace. So here we go.

Kahalui, Maui

Driftwood on Kalului Bay

My friend Brooks and I spoke yesterday as he wanted me to pick up some items that he has at a friend’s home upcountry. He made a point of telling me “safe travels”. I laughed, thinking Maui would be fun, yet pretty tame on the scale of adventures. For someone who can navigate traffic in Saigon (a city of 6 million with barely any traffic lights) or bribe guards in Tikal, Guatemala or hitchhike around rural Florida in the Bible Belt with a baby on her back – the thought of Maui being unsafe had never crossed my mind.

I was confident I would get a place on the plane, even though the ticket was standby, yet the ticket was not officially issued until 30 minutes before departure. I was lucky enough to sit in a row with 2 other empty seats, so I sprawled out and got some sleep, which I desperately needed. In between naps, I read Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence” and to be perfectly honest, I had to hold myself from peeing my pants. I am not sure if he tried to be funny or he simply is- but either way, each page had me giggling. I contemplated living in an age where I can drive from Eugene to Portland; take a plane to Hawaii; and read a book about France – all in a fraction of a day.

Before I knew it, we touched the ground. My bags arrived in short order, and the rental car that I had ordered minutes before boarding the plane ($12/day!) was ready to roll and off I ventured.

Not very far, not yet at least. While the town of Kahului is like any other American town — strip malls and big box stores – it does have a campground right on the beach. I was delighted, as I could spend the rest of my afternoon and evening digging my feet in the soft cream colored sand and aqua water while reveling in the sound of the waves and admiring the lava rock and the interesting driftwood pieces that Gaia has sculpted through the years. The sunset ignited the clouds and I stood still for a bit to drink it all in – the smell of the salt water, the vivid colors in the sky, and the sounds of birds coming back to their nests.

While on one level I was tired enough to just set up camp and crash for the night, I decided to hit Wow-Wee, Maui’s Kava Bar and Grill, and indulge in a kava drink. When in Rome. . . . .

Cuppa Kava

Cuppa Kava

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